cropped-butterfly-2.pngI’m sorry you found my blog.

HA!  What a funny thing to say on a blog!!  But seriously, if you landed here, you either know me, or know someone that has cancer.  That’s why I’m sorry!

Cancer.

I hate that word.

I remember sitting in the oncologist’s office in my early 20’s listening to the Dr. tell me that while it was not likely I would get Ocular Melanoma like my Mom, 3 out of 4 people would be diagnosed with some sort of cancer in their life.  Since all of my Grandparents and my Mom have died of some type of cancer, I knew my day would come.  I just never thought my diagnosis would be the day after my 41st birthday and as a mother of a 10, 7 and 6 year old.

This blog is my journey as I fight to leave cancer behind and move on in my life.

I should probably back up and introduce myself . . . my name is Jennifer.  I’m a Christ follower, married to an amazing man (who happens to be a chef), have 3 beautiful daughters and I’ve been diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer which has spread to my sternum.

I know it can be confusing when you stumble upon a new blog, so let me help you get started.

  • I have a blog to keep track of my thoughts and to let friends and family know what’s going on.
  • You can get to know our family or read my personal testimony here.
  • As I’ve been going through different procedures, I’ve written down what it was like.  You can find a list of those over in the side bar (or down at the bottom if you are on a mobile device).
  • Click here to receive a daily, weekly or monthly email when I publish new posts.
  • And finally, if you noticed above that I’m married to a chef and think that must be the MOST AMAZING THING EVER, click here and browse through my blog about what it’s really like to be married to a chef.  (I love blogging.  Can you tell?)

Jennifer

Here’s what’s going on with me right now . . .

Pain update

I’ve now been off the hormone blocking pill for 1 week and the pain was much better for a few days, but unfortunately, it is back.  While not quite as bad as before, it’s definitely back.  🙁  Please pray that over the course of the next week it will go away.  If so, I will start the new medication.  If not, I’ll contact the Dr. and I believe we look into a scan to see what’s going on.  Please also pray that I will not worry during this time of waiting.  Thanks for praying with us.

The quest for the perfect bathing suit after chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries

I will admit, one of the first things I did when I found out I was going to need a mastectomy was search for what type of bathing suits were out there.  This was before I knew anything about surgery or reconstruction.

Turns out there are quite a few post mastectomy bathing suits available, but I don’t need any of them.  Honestly, I could wear a bikini and you wouldn’t be able to tell I had surgery.  (Not that I’m going to do that, but you get my point.)  I am very thankful for the plastic surgery options that are available.

read more…

Pain, pain, go away…

Pain, pain, go away.  Come again another….well actually, just go away.

I’ve been struggling with really bad bone pain lately.  I had my checkup with the Oncologist today and we talked about it.  The plan for now is to stop the hormone blocking pill I’m on (Aromasin) and let the symptoms go away.  Then start up another hormone blocking pill (Femara), hoping for less side effects.  If after 2 week of stopping the current pill, I am still having bone pain, we’ll talk about doing a scan to find out what is causing the pain. read more…

Radiation, a Year Later

My Facebook memory this morning was a picture of my first morning of radiation last year.  I am so thankful that I don’t have to do that EVERY DAY this summer.

A year later, you would never know I had radiation, with the exception of the 3 little dot tattoos that I will have forever.  (Although I only grow hair in about half of my left arm pit, thanks to the radiation.  I know…probably too much information, but I find it funny.  You’re welcome for that little bit of personal information.)

So instead of driving to radiation, I woke the kids up (our 3 and 1 friend) and took our oldest to an orthodontist appointment.  She got her expander out and her mouth is much happier!! read more…

Everyday Life after Cancer Treatments

Me again…haven’t posted in a while…because not much is going on cancer wise.  However, since I so brilliantly titled the blog, “Leaving Cancer Behind,” a friend mentioned that I could just write about what life looks like with cancer treatments behind me (mostly).  So I guess that’s the plan for now.

But before I write about life, here’s my cancer/health updates:

  • I cancelled my Oncology apt. a few weeks ago since things are going fine.    I have occasional bone and joint pain, which I hate, but there’s nothing the oncologist can do about that so I just deal with it and try not to complain. 🙁
  • I’ve decided to look for a new plastic surgeon.  I’m still having some issues with the scars on my healthy breast and want to get a second opinion on what I should do.
  • I know I go back and forth, but I gave up on growing my hair out.  I can’t deal with the awkward stage.
  • PT is helping my back.  Last week I started to wean myself off the Gabapentin (nerve meds.) and the pain came back and my general practitioner referred me to a spine specialist.  I saw him today and he said I’m on the right road to recovery.  He recommended weaning off the Gabapentin when I am feeling good enough to stop physical therapy.  He didn’t think surgery would be necessary.
  • My memory is HORRIBLE!  🙁

read more…

Physical Therapy Update

Hello everyone…it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, which I guess is good.

I’ve had 4 weeks of Physical Therapy and my back pain has decreased a lot!  It no longer hurts when I drive over a speed bump!  I can unload the dishwasher without having to squat down or kneel down and I’m not in as much pain when laying down in bed.

When I was in CA last weekend, I spent a lot of time standing around talking to people and noticed that was quite uncomfortable, so I mentioned that to the physical therapist.  Hopefully some core exercises will help with that. 🙂

Speaking of CA, I surprised my Dad at his retirement party!  I just loved surprising him!  It was great to spend time with him, my in-laws and nieces and nephew, and my aunt and uncle.  I was also able to see many of you at church and even managed to sneak a few quick friend visits in!  It was a very full 4 days, but since it was just me and I didn’t have to worry about the kids, it felt relaxing.  This week back was a really hard one, so I’m ready for another vacation!!

Happy (almost) retirement Dad! (His last day is May 31st.)

In other medical news…I had an infusion on Wed.  My port worked the first time and no side effects. 🙂

On Friday, I have a PT appointment and then follow up appointments with both the oncologist and the plastic surgeon.  (The scars from the breast lift on the healthy breast are HORRIBLE and very large in comparison to the scars from my mastectomy. Hmmmmmm.  A few months ago they were pretty painful.  I’ve had silicone gel strips on the scars for the past few months which are supposed to help.  They’ve done nothing…so we’ll see what he says.  The scars no longer hurt, so maybe that is a result of the gel strips.  But they look the same.  All in all, it really doesn’t matter as only Tom and I see them.)

That’s it for now.